Friday, 3 October 2014

Some photos from class

Here are some first photos that I am posting from the training. I will add more photos later.

Dianus Ishengoma from SJMC working on his assignment on Friday.

Here's Shekha Ally Hussein, journalism lecturer at SJMC.

Vincent Mpepo is journalism lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania.

African and international web resources

Here’s a list of some local and international websites, useful sites not only for journalists and journalism lecturers and students, but for anyone with the desire to find information. We visited some of them during the training course, but not all of them.

Tanzania government You can find here some statistical data of the country, national budget and so on, but unfortunately the information is not updated very regularly. For reaching the different ministries, better to go directly to the section National information by topics with the giraffe image surrounded by links.

Bunge, meaning the parliament, has a good site with CV’s of all MP’s and other info. But the same here as with the government website - not updated regularly enough.

Jamii Forums This is the Tanzanian discussion site, with the slogan: “Where we dare to talk openly.” Here people use to leak out scandalous documents of corruption etc. that wouldn’t be published in the mainstream media. The eighth most visited website in Tanzania, more popular than BBC.

Reuters Africa Latest news country by country updated constantly when news happen. If things at home are relatively cool, meaning no huge floods or wars or rigged elections, the site might include only week-old business news.

IPS News “Tells the story underneath!” Well written news features from the South produced by journalists from the South. You can find the Kiswahili service here.

Other international Kiswahili language news sites include BBC Swahili, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America and the latest Radio France International, all of them providing audio clips as well. Content from more than 125 African news organizations. Here you can read papers from Cameroon to Kenya. Of the Tanzanian media houses, The Citizen and Daily News have joined this news portal recently.

Al Jazeera This satellite channel from Doha, Qatar, is today providing some of the best Africa and Middle East reporting of all the big international news channels. The website is beautiful with sharp pictures and often clever stories and commentaries.

Africa The Good News A website from South Africa trying to counter the Western media stereotypes of AIDS, poverty, tribal feuds and corruption. Right now news about farmers’ success stories in Zimbabwe and stories about African football stars and investment opportunities in Congo and Nigeria. This is a Somali news site with more than a hundred links to other Somali news and other websites. Online journalism can be a great media in a country with long distances and lack of paper, as long as wireless connections are there.

Pambazuka News Pan-African forum for social justice. Human rights activists and the best intellectuals on the continent are publishing enlightening stories on politics, development and people’s struggles.

African Elections Database Compiled by a chap somewhere out of Africa with numbers of votes, percentages and all other details from every election since colonial times, but not updated since some time back.

African Journals Online On this website updated in South Africa you can browse and read close to 400 different African scientific journals, from the social science journal Africa Development to Zimbabwe Veterinary Journal.

African Literature and Writers on the Internet A web portal hosted by Stanford University in California with hundreds of links to websites on African literature, from sites about Chinua Achebe to Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina.

African Studies Internet Resources Web portal by Columbia University, New York. So many links that you can choose by region, country or topic.

Hello in many languages. This is one of my personal favourites. If you can greet in the Kihaya and Hehe languages and also say “thank you”, you might reach far. Here you can also learn to say “hallo” in about 20 different German dialects.

Friday, 26 September 2014

What are we taking back to our students

The training ended well today with speeches by Dietrich Kaijanangoma and Rehema Muniko and the Associate Dean, Dr. Michael Andindilile, who encouraged everyone to make use of everything learnt from the training and officially closed the training.

Before that, participants made their final training postings on what they actually got out from the training to take back to their students. I will again update, but until that kindly go to the links on the right.

I will also post some pictures from the class next week when I'm back in Finland.

Many thanks to all participants, to the whole SJMC for organizing the training, and special thanks to Njonjo Mfaume for good coordination of the training and to Abdallah Katunzi for all pre-training arrangements. Thanks also to the SJMC IT support and the catering for the tasty bites and lunch which kept us going throughout the training days.

Searching stuff for stories

Today, most of the day was spent by doing search assignments with the purpose of applying different search options in the Google to make the search as efficient as possible.

At the end of the day, three separate topics were given to choose from to write a short story based on material found through surfing on the web.

I will update in more detail as I have settled, but so far you can go directly to the participants' blogs, links found on the right.

How to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism and the need for ethical reporting and true professionalism were the topics today in the morning session.

The website lists the following examples as plagiarism:
Turning in someone else’s work as your own

Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

Failing to put a quotation in quotation

Changing words but copying the sentence structure without giving credit

Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not
For most journalism lecturers in class, the previous examples sound too familiar.

Then how can you avoid plagiarizing? In most cases by citing sources. By simply explaining that a part of the material has been borrowed, and providing your audience the information necessary to find the original source. That’s usually enough to prevent plagiarism.

Plagiarism has never been as easy as it is today. Before the internet, potential plagiarists would have had to go to the library and copy texts from books by hand. But the internet now makes it easy to find thousands of relevant sources in seconds, and in a few minutes one could find, copy and paste together an entire seminar paper, or a feature story.

But there’s no point in copy-pasting. You just make a much better story by writing in your own style and words. An editor or a teacher should also easily recognize passages that are directly copied, from the vocabulary used.

Journalists in any country caught plagiarizing can get sacked. If you are copying someone else’s story for an article published in your own name, you might also get sued for copyright infringement and be forced to pay heavy compensation. The same goes for publishing a photo without the permission of the copyright owner. In most of the world, the length of the copyright is usually 50 or 70 years after the death of the author. In Tanzania, 50 years.

The recommendation was that all participants would take their time and read the Tanzanian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act from 1999, found here as a PDF file on a UNESCO web portal where they have collected the copyright laws from most countries.

Here’s another link to a good BBC story about plagiarism, how easy it is, and how easily it can be detected.

Reflections from the first days

Participants have made their postings on what we have done during the previous days. Links to all participants can be found on the right.

Think first, and other tips for fact-finding

Here’s some useful tips when searching for information from the web.
Think first, before going to the web.

What do you search for and where might you find it? Are you searching for simple facts, backgrounds or any other information that can develop your story? Should you google, or can you find the information on a specific website you already know? Do you find it from the internet, or better somewhere else?

Always monitor other news sites, both local and international, and also other web resources.

Choose right search words.

Try different Google search options – sometimes web, sometimes news, sometimes “all web”, sometimes only Tanzanian pages, or only Swahili language pages. You can also narrow your search by date, for last year, last month, last week or the last 24 hours only.

Open pages in a new tab. While the new pages are opening, you can continue reading the original page.

Add to favourites, or bookmarks. Also open new files for your favourites, or bookmarks. Then you will easier find the stories when you want to come back to them.

Follow the links in the stories you read.

Go to original sources.

Don’t always read everything, but scan for what is of your interest.

Don’t ever copy-paste! That’s

Print if necessary. Read as homework, underline.

Also make notes to your notebook and save drafts to a USB flash.
Here’s some more tips before you start writing the story.
Structure your story in your mind and on paper.

Decide what is relevant for your narrative.

Write simple with own words.

Quote when necessary.

Understand what you write (you are there to make things understandable for your audience).

Add details for human interest.
When you’re about to publish:
Provide links to original sources (if you publish online).

Always also think about headline, visual outlook, quotes, images, graphics etc.
Some general good advice for producing good investigative stories:
Spend much more time on the investigation than on the actual writing.

Plan your story into narrative chunks.

Also plan how you use your time
  • for research
  • for writing
  • for editing your text
  • for checking facts
  • and for delivering the final story.

What to do when young people don't read newspapers

Draft for a short summary of topics we covered on Thursday... I will edit and make a nice text here as soon as time allows... So these are so far just my own notes...

Working with the blogs, writing first day summaries, going through settings, template, and finally adding links to the first postings. Note the importance of links to network, this is the whole essence of the web.

Listing internet uses from technical point of view

Smiling Rupert Murdoch in photo by David Shankbone.
Discussion of Rupert Murdoch's speech to American newspaper editors already in 2005. Only some participants had read the speech which was a kind of homework, but many joined the lively discussion on how the speech reflects the current situation in Tanzania and how it doesn't and what to do to attract young people to read newspapers. Compere to Alexa statistics on most popular websites in Tanzania at the moment.

Reactions by media business elsewhere:
multi-channel strategy
growing interactivity
business concerns
Two examples More media, less news, Telegraph Shop

Shortly some African and international recommended web resources (IPS,, Pambazuka).

Afternoon, search tips and simple search assignments

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Internet use growing fast, but what for?

Yesterday we went through some statistics on the use of internet in different world regions and countries. As soon as I find the time, I will make here a summary of the latest findings and growth trends in African countries.

Anyway the hype is there accompanied with the hope that faster communications will also boost the economic growth. See two articles in local newspapers on Monday.

But what then are people in Tanzania using the web for? According to web traffic tracking site Alexa... To be continued...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

First day at the University of Dar es Salaam

The first day of the internet training for Tanzanian journalism lecturers has just ended. We are having the training at a cool meeting room at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dar es Salaam. Writing a summary and will soon update.